Home > Events > HESP Seminar: Zoe Ovans (NACS/HESP), Meg Cychosz (Berkeley)
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HESP Seminar: Zoe Ovans (NACS/HESP), Meg Cychosz (Berkeley)

Time: 
Monday, October 22, 2018 - 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM
Location: 
2108 Tydings Hall

 

Zoe Ovans (NACS/HESP)

Rely on what’s reliable: Effects of cognitive-control engagement on children’s sentence comprehension 

Children parse sentences word-by-word, which can lead to interpretation errors when initial misanalyses conflict with later-arriving evidence. Such challenges have been attributed to immature cognitive-control, though it remains unclear how sentence processing and cognitive-control are linked. We tested 5 year-olds' ability to interpret sentences in real time under varying levels of cognitive control engagement and varying sentence types. Cognitive-control engagement was manipulated using interleaved child-friendly Stroop trials (congruent/incongruent) preceding Sentence trials. We found that Incongruent Stroops caused children to more readily interpret sentences according to information gleaned from the verbs, regardless of whether verbs were prediction or revision cues. This suggests that cognitive-control fulfills the very general function of increasing reliance on reliable parsing cues like verb-specific biases (and doesn't always prevent children from revising an initial interpretation). 


Meg Cychosz (Berkeley)

The lexical advantage: Four-year-old children acquire words, not sounds 

This study tested a potential lexical advantage in young children’s early speech production: do children produce consonant-vowel sequences less accurately in non words than real words? Children aged 3;3-4;4 repeated both real words and non words after a model speaker. Each real word had a paired consonant-vowel sequence in the non word in word-initial position (e.g. suitcase, soodross). The word-initial consonant-vowel sequences were kept constant between the paired words. Previous work on this topic compared different sequences of paired sounds, making it hard to determine if those results were due to a lexical or phonetic effect. Our results show that children consistently produced the sequences in real words more accurately than non words. The effect was most pronounced in children with smaller receptive vocabularies. Together, these results reinforce theories arguing for interactions between vocabulary size and phonological development in language development.